FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hiroshima’s Legacy

by ROBERT F. DODGE

Our world changed forever 68 years ago this week. Tuesday marks the day that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, followed by the bombing of Nagasaki three days later. The repercussions and lessons of these bombings at the end of WWII that resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 people in the months that followed are still being realized today. Most significantly, these events marked the end of war as a legitimate means of resolving conflict as man now controlled the fate of humankind and the planet itself. War had become obsolete. What was now needed was a new way of thinking. War was the old way of thinking. This was and is the new reality.

Einstein and the early adopters realized this early on. Einstein famously said, “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” He recognized that we must change our thinking or face possible extinction.

President Kennedy also realized this fact and probably said it most presciently when he said to the UN General Assembly in 1961, “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”

Yet we still have approximately 20,000 nuclear weapons in the world today with >95 percent in the arsenals of the U.S. and Russia. The human and financial costs of these programs are real and devastating. The U.S. alone has spent in excess of $5.5 trillion on nuclear weapons programs since 1940 and continues to spend in excess of $54 billion annually. Such expenditures rob our future of so much and provide nothing in return except unacceptable risk.

Recent scientific studies have demonstrated the devastating humanitarian effects of even small limited nuclear war with catastrophic climate changes resulting in global famine.

There is no adequate response or recovery from these types of attacks. Prevention is the only response. There is no safe number of nuclear weapons. A complete ban and elimination of these weapons is the only sane response. The framework and steps to realize this have already been worked out.  A majority of people around the world in poll after poll agree that abolition is the goal. What is needed is the political will.

Although there remains a shrinking group who feel that nuclear weapons and war play a role in resolving conflict. They cannot imagine a world without the institution of war. They are incorrect in their thinking just as those in the past who felt that slavery and apartheid would always be with us—and woman’s suffrage would never happen.

Today the idea of war prevention and resolving conflict without war has moved to the mainstream as people, faith communities, organizations and civil societies take up the cause. Even Rotary International is taking on the cause in their Rotary Action Group for Peace and War Prevention Initiative. (www.warpreventioninitiative.org)

Yes, ultimately war will end or mankind will end. The choice is ours. We have the tools and we have the means. We must persevere and work together until this challenge is met. The Hibakusha—survivors of the atomic bombings—remind us daily of the responsibility each of us has to work for the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and war. We owe this to their legacy and to the future of our children.

Robert F. Dodge, M.D., serves on the boards of the Nuclear Age Peace FoundationBeyond WarPhysicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles, and Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions, and writes forPeaceVoice.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Farhang Jahanpour
America’s Woes, Europe’s Responsibilities
Joseph Natoli
March Madness Outside the Basketball Court
Bill Willers
Volunteerism; Charisma; the Ivy League Stranglehold: a Very Brief Trilogy
Bruce Mastron
Slaughtered Arabs Don’t Count
Ayesha Khan
The Headscarf is Not an Islamic Compulsion
Pauline Murphy
Unburied Truth: Exposing the Church’s Iron Chains on Ireland
Ron Jacobs
Music is Love, Music is Politics
Christopher Brauchli
Prisoners as Captive Customers
Robert Koehler
The Mosque That Disappeared
Franklin Lamb
Update from Madaya
Dan Bacher
Federal Scientists Find Delta Tunnels Plan Will Devastate Salmon
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Gig Economy: Which Side Are You On?
Louis Proyect
What Caused the Holodomor?
Max Mastellone
Seeking Left Unity Through a Definition of Progressivism
Charles R. Larson
Review: David Bellos’s “Novel of the Century: the Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables”
David Yearsley
Ear of Darkness: the Soundtracks of Steve Bannon’s Films
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail